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OSU Up and Down in 1st Big Ten Week

 

 

The Ohio State Men's Basketball team opened up Big Ten play this past week, and after their first two games, it's difficult to tell what kind of team they have in Columbus.

In their conference opener this past Wednesday, the Buckeyes were firing on all cylinders and ran the Nebraska Cornhuskers out of the gym on their way to a 70-44 victory.

Following the victory, Buckeyes head coach Thad Matta joked about the superb start.

"Hopefully the next 17 are exactly (like that)," he cracked, his voice trailing off as he flashed a smile.

Ironically, Ohio State's next game would go exactly like that...

Three days later, it was Ohio State who would become the victims of a blowout as the Illinois Fighting Illini drilled the Buckeyes 74-55.

Brutus FatheadDespite the Jekyll and Hyde start, there has been one consistent bright spot, the play of Deshaun Thomas.

In the first half against Nebraska, Thomas outscored the Cornhuskers 18-17 on his way to finishing with 22 points. Then against Illinois, the Junior forward tallied a game-high 24 points.

Thomas has been playing at an All-American level so far this season, leading the 15th ranked Buckeyes (11-3, 1-1 Big Ten) in points (20.2) and rebounds (6.8).

While Thomas has been carrying the offense, his Junior partner, point guard Aaron Craft, spearheads the Buckeyes defense.

Nebraska had difficulty getting anything going on offense, particularly struggling to get points inside. When the Huskers drove to the hoop, Craft was there to pester the ball-handler into a turnover. If they got past him, Ohio State centers Amir Williams and Evan Ravenel stood in the way and blocked or altered shots. The Buckeyes held the Cornhuskers to a mere 30 percent shooting from the field.

Against Illinois, the tables were turned on the Buckeyes as it was the Fighting Illini's defense giving OSU problems. Normally a low-turnover team, Ohio State gave the ball away 16 times and shot 33 percent from the field.

Luckily for the Buckeyes, they will have two opportunities to bounce back this week as they travel to Purdue to take on the Boilermakers on Tuesday before returning to Columbus on Sunday for a battle against their arch-rivals, the Michigan Wolverines.

However, the task of getting back on the right track may be easier said than done in a tough Big Ten conference.

Despite Purdue’s 7-7 start, the Boilermakers upset the aforementioned 11 th ranked Fighting Illini in their first conference matchup.

Then, if the Buckeyes are able to come out of Purdue with a victory, they will host the current 2nd ranked Wolverines.

 

By Nick Adams
BigTen-fans.com Ohio State Correspondent

 

 

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